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The Pachyderm Dread: A Case Study of Human-Elephant Conflict in the Fringe Areas of Sonai-Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam


The conflict between man and animal has been a problem since time immemorial. However, this problem has been increasing day by day with the advancement of technology like the construction of rail and road networks through the forest, establishing stone quarries near the forest, etc. and the increase of population. Human-animal conflict may occur with leopard, wild buffalos, tigers or even with rhinos. However, the most common encounter of human occurs with the largest mammal on earth, the pachyderm. Perhaps, a conflict with wild elephant kills more people than the others. The Asiatic elephant is gradually becoming an endangered species due to the fast decrease of its population. Human-elephant conflict is one of the major causes of decreasing elephant population.

Moreover, loss of animal habitat even in protected area poses a threat to their habitat and also becomes a cause for a decrease of the elephant population. Sonai-Rupai Wildlife sanctuary is one of the most suitable abodes of Asiatic elephant. However, rapid deforestation has compelled the elephants to enter into the human settlements, which leads to human-elephant conflict. This study attempts to understand the nature of the human-elephant conflict in the fringe areas of Sonai-Rupai Wildlife Sanctuary and to explore the reasons behind such conflicts. It focuses mostly on those human-wildlife conflicts that result from a direct interaction among humans and wildlife.


Human-elephant conflict, deforestation, protected area, fringe area, Assam, India.



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